Column: Larson finishes 2nd again, takes over points lead

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Kyle Larson finished second at Phoenix International Raceway and then headed to the beach for a brief family vacation. There was no lamenting his third consecutive runner-up finish because Larson is the current points leader of NASCAR's top series. His positioning atop the standings is almost as good as a trip to victory lane.

Newman skips late pit stop, stuns NASCAR field in Phoenix

AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- A big gamble in the desert heat ended a long victory drought for Ryan Newman. When just about everybody else decided to take a tire-changing pit stop in the final few laps on Sunday, Newman figured he'd be going in with them. His crew chief Luke Lambert thought otherwise. It was a decision that earned Newman a victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, ending his 127-race winless streak.

Fresh generation of drivers emerging on NASCAR circuit

AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- The NASCAR kids keep coming on strong. Five of the highest-starting eight drivers in NASCAR's lineup for its Monster Energy Series race on Sunday are 26 or younger. Ryan Blaney, starting next to pole-sitter and teammate Joey Logano on the front row, is 23. Kyle Larson starts in the second row, and he's all of 24.

Latest North Carolina and South Carolina sports

BIGSOUTH-UNC ASHEVILLE-RADFORD Fitzgerald's FTs gives UNC Asheville women Big South title LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) -- Bronaza Fitzgerald, a 47 percent free-throw shooter who had missed her other four attempts, made two from the line with five seconds left, giving UNC Asheville a 49-48 victory over top-seeded Radford on Sunday for a second straight Big South Tournament championship and trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Weekend Sports In Brief

COLLEGE BASKETBALL Villanova took the overall top seed on Selection Sunday, with Kansas, North Carolina and Gonzaga joining the defending national champions on the No. 1 line for the NCAA Tournament. Not many surprises there, though Duke -- left at No. 2 despite a four-win-in-four-night performance in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament -- and Syracuse and Illinois State, who got left out altogether, may have been searching for answers.

Martin Truex Jr. wins at Vegas, Kyle Busch bloodied in brawl

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Martin Truex Jr. finished speaking to reporters after winning the NASCAR Cup race Sunday and retreated into a corner of the media center where a tablet awaited with the video cued up. Truex had to see the Kyle Busch-Joey Logano brawl, too. "I'm sure NASCAR is going to love that one," Truex said.

Latest North Carolina and South Carolina sports

HORNETS-HEAT Heat win again, rallying to beat Hornets 108-101 MIAMI (AP) -- Dion Waiters scored 24 points, Goran Dragic added 22 points and 10 assists, and the Miami Heat moved within a half-game of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference by beating the Charlotte Hornets 108-101 on Wednesday night.

Update on the latest sports

NBA-CAVALIERS-BOGUT Cavaliers center Bogut done for season with broken leg INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) -- Cavaliers center Andrew Bogut will miss the remainder of the season, including the playoffs, with a broken leg. Bogut broke his left leg in his debut for Cleveland on Monday night, an injury that occurred after the 7-footer was on the floor for just 58 seconds.

Column: NASCAR needs some rivalries to spice up the action

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Rivalries are the lifeblood of sports, and NASCAR sorely needs a few to spice up the action. The discourse among drivers has been tame for several years, in part because wives and children have seemed to mellow the competitors. They live inches away from each other in the same motorhome lot every weekend, share the playground, the basketball court and the gym.

Update on the latest in sports:

NBA-SCHEDULE Warriors halt skid UNDATED (AP) -- Stephen (STEH'-fehn) Curry snapped out of his recent slump. So did the Golden State Warriors. Curry and fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson combined for 60 points as the Warriors beat the Knicks, 112-105 in New York. The outcome gives the Warriors their first victory since losing Kevin Durant to a knee injury last week. It also ends Golden State's first two-game skid in 23 months.

Update on the latest in sports:

NBA-SCHEDULE Warriors halt skid UNDATED (AP) -- Stephen (STEH'-fehn) Curry snapped out of his recent slump. So did the Golden State Warriors. Curry and fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson combined for 60 points as the Warriors beat the Knicks, 112-105 in New York. The outcome gives the Warriors their first victory since losing Kevin Durant to a knee injury last week. It also ends Golden State's first two-game skid in 23 months.

Keselowski steals Atlanta win after Harvick caught speeding

HAMPTON, Ga. (AP) -- Kevin Harvick was faster than everyone at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Too fast, it turned out. Harvick ruined a dominating performance by speeding on his final pit stop, allowing Brad Keselowski to steal a NASCAR Monster Energy Cup victory Sunday. "I'm just snake-bit here," Harvick said. "But it's my own doing." Harvick won the first two stages under NASCAR's new race format and led a staggering 293 out of 325 laps overall.

No transition for Stewart-Haas Racing after switch to Ford

HAMPTON, Ga. (AP) -- So much for a transition period at Stewart-Haas Racing. The NASCAR team hasn't slowed since switching from Chevrolet to Ford. Kurt Busch captured the season-opening Daytona 500, and Kevin Harvick followed up by earning the pole for Sunday's Monster Energy Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. "Hopefully this is the start of something great," Harvick said.

Column: Hype, new format didn't equal must-watch Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- The Daytona 500 was sold out, the grid packed with celebrities, the fan area full of activities including a motorcycle "Ball of Death." Owen "Lightning McQueen" Wilson was on hand, and so was Waka Flocka Flame , Gronk and nearly two dozen women decked out in scantily-clad Monster Energy outfits.

Party time! Outlaw, Smoke, Gronk turn Daytona 500 into bash

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- The Outlaw, Smoke and Gronk turned the Daytona 500 into party central. The good times were just getting started in victory lane Sunday night. Flanked by sexy models, the triumphant trio chugged drinks and gave NASCAR the buzz it craved in the season opener. Might as well go wild for their first celebration on NASCAR's grandest stage.

Earnhardt returns from concussion, feels fine after crash

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. climbed out of his wrecked race car, surveyed the damage, chatted with his team and hopped on a golf cart for a trip to the infield care center. Eight minutes after checking in with doctors, Earnhardt walked out. And he felt fine.

The Latest: Kurt Busch wins Daytona 500 for Stewart-Haas

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- The Latest on the Daytona 500 (all times local): 6:25 p.m. Kurt Busch has won the Daytona 500, surviving a crash-filled season opener to win the race for the first time in 16 tries. Busch passed Kyle Larson final lap before cruising to the victory. Larson ran out gas shortly after passing Chase Elliott, who also came up short on fuel.